Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins 60 Million Dollar Decoy

Miami Dolphins 60 Million Dollar Decoy

The entire off-season the hype surrounding our free agent acquisitions was specifically directed towards acquiring speed.  We needed to upgrade our speed on both sides of the field; as such our primary target during the free agency period was Mike Wallace. Wallace demonstrated his speed during his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steeler’s which led us signing him to a 60 million dollar deal.  So the 60 million dollar question is why can’t we get him involved in our offence?

A few years back we had Brandon Marshall.  Marshall is one of the best Wide Receivers in the NFL.  However during his stay with the Dolphins he had the worst stretch of his career, stats wise of course.  This led Jeff Ireland to trade Marshall during the off-season to the Chicago Bears where he is having a pro ball type of season and putting up stats that we have grown a custom to.  If we take a closer look at the stats we can see the following:

 Season GP Rec Targets Yards Avg TD
2012 16 118 194 1508 12.8 11
2013 9 60 93 786 13.1 8

Stats extracted from ESPN.COM

Targets per Game:

Week Opponent Targets Receptions Percentage
1 Cin 10 8 80%
2 Min 10 7 70%
3 Pit 8 7 87.5%
4 Det 14 7 50%
5 NO 5 4 80%
6 NYG 11 9 81%
7 WAS 10 6 60%
8 GB 13 7 53%
9 Det 12 7 58%


Key figures:

–          Marshall averages 10 targets per game

–          Any time that Marshall is targeted by his QB he has at least of 68% chance of catching the ball.

–          With each completion his average is 13.1 yards, which is greater than 10 yards and allows the Bears to stay on the field and continue their drive.

–          Marshall is averaging just shy of 1 touchdown reception per game

Now let’s flip the analysis and see what Wallace is doing this year

Season GP Rec Targets Yards Avg TD
2013 9 40 79 495 12.4 1

Stats extracted from ESPN.COM

Targets per Game:

Week Opponent Targets Receptions Percentage
1 Cle 5 1 20%
2 In 9 9 100%
3 Atl 5 2 40%
4 NO 7 3 42%
5 Bal 16 7 43.8%
6 Buf 10 5 50%
7 NE 10 3 30%
8 Cin 10 8 75%
9 TB 7 4 57.1%


Key figures:

–          The two games were Wallace had over 8 receptions, he had a completion percentage of over 75%

  • Both games led to Miami Dolphins victory

–          Anytime Wallace is targeted he has a 50% chance of making a completion

–          With each completion his average is 12.1 yards, which is greater than 10 yards and allows the Dolphins to stay on the field and continue their drive.

–          Wallace only has 1 touchdown this year which is his lowest of his career at this point of the season.

If we can compare Wallace to Marshall we can see that Marc Trestman understands how to utilize his star player.  The Bears ensure that Marshall is key facets of their game plan.  The number of targets provides evidence of this finding.  Furthermore, by allowing Marshall to be a key player in their game plan he is rewarding his team with one of his best seasons to date.  The same cannot be said about Wallace.  And don’t even get me started with comparing Wallace to Calvin Johnson target rate.  In last week victory over the Bears, Megatron was targeted 17 teams.  Let that marinate for a second.

The one game that Wallace was a key player (Indy) he led us to victory and had his lone touchdown of the season.  I can understand that Mike Sherman, our Offensive Coordinator, might use Wallace as a decoy to centralize one side of the field, but a 60 million dollar decoy doesn’t make sense and provides zero return on Stephen Ross investment.

Numbers don’t lie.  Facts are provided based on the numbers that are generated throughout the season.  Where does the problem start?  Many believe it starts up front, not allowing Ryan Tannehill enough time in the pocket to get Wallace the deep ball.  That doesn’t make sense, as Wallace can run the underneath routes or even the zig patterns.  The problem lies within the game plan, and unfortunately that starts with our coaching staff.   If we want to start turning the corner this season we need to start using our prized assets such as Wallace within our game plan.

We can’t afford a 60 million dollar decoy.

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Tags: Brandon Marshall Calvin Johnson Chicago Bears ESPN Jeff Ireland Joe Philbin Marc Trestman MIke Sherman Mike Wallace Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Tannehill

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